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How Much is Your Teaching Prep Time Worth, Really?

Have you ever considered how much your prep time is really worth (in dollars)?

One of my biggest teaching hurdles was figuring out how to use my precious prep time wisely. When I first started teaching I assumed I needed to make all my own lessons.

I spent way too much time re-inventing the wheel.

Once I realized I could lean on others who had already spent hours (or days!) designing high-quality lessons, I was finally no longer the last car in the parking lot. I could print and organize an entire unit or assemble activities for an entire month without trying to piece together or create lessons during my limited prep-time (or evenings!). This not only freed-up time for other important tasks, but gave me so much peace of mind.

So, if you haven't figured out how much your TIME is worth, here is just a simplified example (before taxes). You can add in your own numbers to figure out the value of your prep time.

Let's say you make 40K a year. One school year is about 180 days.

Keep in mind that if you get paid in the summer, it simply means your salary is spaced out. You don't actually get paid for school breaks or summer, your paycheck is withheld during the school year so that you get paid in the summer.

Based on the example here, this means that your daily rate is $222 or $27.75/hour.

If you have 5 hours of prep time each week, your prep time is worth $138.75/Week.

Let's say you purchase a pre-made lesson for $10. If that lesson will save you 3 hours of prep time, you save $73.25.

You now have more time to spend on other high-priority tasks. And the thing to remember is that each day we face urgent or unexpected tasks. There may be a last-minute meeting, a crisis, or an emergency that is unexpected and just can't be planned. One of the things we can plan is how to use our prep time effectively.

If you spend 2 hours each evening working on lesson plans after contract hours, that amounts to $55.50 or $277.50 of unpaid work.

Is the cost vs. benefit worth it? We ALL only have 24 hours in a day. If you can pay for a pre-made lesson (or find one for free!) this doesn't make you less of a teacher because you didn't make it yourself.

Instead, what you're saying is that your time is currency--it has value. When you choose to use pre-made lessons, you're simply choosing to use your time and resources more productively.

Looking for more time-saving and productivity tips? Check out these blog posts.


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